I’m not the only one who crafts in this house. Around here, crafters abound. And since crafting is always more fun with friends, we tend to pick up stray crafters on a regular basis. A couple of weekends ago, we had one of those weeks where extra crafters seemed to be pouring out of the woodwork. It was so much fun!
It started Saturday. Our niece came to visit for the weekend while her mama went off for a blissfully relaxed and child-free weekend at a bed and breakfast not too far away. At three, crafting is pure sensory pleasure. All the better if it involves paint and paintbrushes and water. Don’t forget the paper. And egg cartons, cut into small one- and two-bump pieces, the better for creating bugs with, complete with chenille stem legs and crazy eyeball stickers and brilliant purple feathers, because everybody needs a bug with purple feathers. Saturday night, friends stopped by at the last minute just to hang out. And by “hanging out” I mean watch hockey and knit. Sunday, you might think we rested, after all our crazy Saturday crafting, but no, not us! Instead, we invited over some friends both grown-up and otherwise and we dug our hands into salt dough.
At the end of the afternoon, after having played with cookie cutters and paint and glitter for hours (and I do mean hours!), the kitchen counter looked like this:
Aren’t they lovely?
The kids had so much fun rolling dough with our big marble rolling pin, cutting out weency little winter shapes with the teensiest cookie cutters you’ve ever seen, and larger ones with the fabulous stained glass cookie cutters from Williams & Sonoma that my brother gave me one year (sadly discontinued, but they now have these and I’m totally lusting after them!). Once baked in a slow oven until they are hard and dry (don’t forget to poke a hole for the string to hang them before you bake them!), the salt dough was painted… and painted… and glittered to death for good measure. (Isn’t everything better with glitter?)
It fills this mama’s heart to the brim with joy and love to watch her kids spend so much time and effort making small gifts for the people they love and cherish. (And I do mean small. Those tiny mittens are tiny. Adorable, but tiny.)
Of course, this mama couldn’t resist getting her hands in the dough too. And the glitter. Did I mention the glitter? There was glitter.
Our salt dough recipe:
2 cups salt
4 cups flour
1 Tbsp cream of tartar
enough water to form a sturdy dough, not too sticky, not too soft.
Mix the dry ingredients together until thoroughly blended, then add in water until a nice dough forms.
Knead until smooth, then roll out to about 1 cm thick. Cut with cookie cutters or shape with your hands, whatever you wish. Use a small straw to poke a hole in one end for hanging.
Bake at 200 degrees until hard and dry, then let cool.
Paint with acrylic paints. Add glitter until the counters and floors are sparkly, and so are your socks.
Let dry, then string a little scrap of yarn or ribbon through the hole and hang from your Christmas tree, or tie onto a gift as a fancy embellishment.
Whatever you do, don’t try to eat them. Not even when one of your best friends says he thinks they look like cookies. And dares you to eat one. And you, being nine… and a boy… who has just been dared by another boy… seriously think about it. Just don’t do it, man. Don’t do it. Salt dough tastes terrible. Trust me.